Monday, May 26, 2008

Mammorial Day

Yes so, birth.

In the night there is a dream and in the dream you are riding in an old elevator with your best friend from childhood. The elevator stops and suddenly you feel wet and declare, "I think my water just broke!" Around you gathers a crowd of people who are cheering. Some even whistle. It's like a coronation of sorts, except you still feel wet.

And then you wake up and realize, labor has begun.

In the early morning you wake up the husband. He gives a spirited response and groggily rolls back over to sleep. For a couple hours you clean your house, do the last load of laundry, set some warm towels in the crock-pot and manage to bake a few batches of chocolate cookies. All the while, it is your little secret. The Secret.

Then the contractions begin.

In the afternoon, while rushes are coming randomly you decide to wait it out watching the latest Indiana Jones movie with the husband. It's campy and silly, but doesn't matter because, remember? In a short time there will be a baby in your arms. A real baby.

A baby who belongs to you (finally!)

In the evening, the contractions come faster. Family arrives at the house with food and prayers. They set up camp, watching you welcome regular contractions. Your husband rubs your feet. Sister Page adds a lavender-scented essential oil. You spend the evening reading birthing stories out loud to Page and Mom.

They eat your cookies.

By morning the next the contractions have moved to the back. Page figures that your baby must be posterior. The camp decides to head to the hospital where the nurses quickly confirm Page's diagnosis. After thirty hours of contracting there is an appeal to an epidural.

Then your feet turn numb and you feel like you've turned into Octopus Woman.

Hours later, in a sea of green scrubs and a cheering section of your woman-folk, plus one bewildered husband you are pushing. . .

. . . at least, you think you are pushing. . .

and smiling even though there is an oxygen mask on your face. It takes a few pushes--maybe a half dozen--and boom.

A head, a neck, a cord, a torso, a baby.

The baby.

The long-awaited infant! The specimen who has been occupying your belly (and thoughts) for the past ten months. The end of a season of unproductive fertility. The answer to your plead-full prayers.

And he's a cute little fella.

Who, as it turns out has a rigorous latching ability. Who, ray.

Shortly, there are visitors. Happy Grandma and Grampa K bringing food and handmade blankies. Md, Kentucky and Phun. Phun greets The Chief with the appropriate "HOW!" as one would to an Indian in the Pilgram's day. Lucy and Ric bring blooming peonies. Lisa enters crying. Owen finds the blue surgeon's gloves.

Nurses in. Nurses out.

Grandpa and Umi. Suze and children. Emily holds her promise of being the first cousin to cradle the newest crew member. Jesse and Lindsay stop by, make you laugh. Make Chup laugh. Give you a gorgeous green blanket knitted by Olga herself.

All-the-while, Steph is texting from the desert.

You debate with your husband for many hospital hours about a name, meanwhile the birth certificate worksheet stares at you with yellow eyes. Name him! Name him! It chants.

Finally the husband agrees to your first name, if the middle name can be the state of his origins. Yes, that is right your baby's middle name is one of the 50 states. A gem of a name.

(Like Indiana Jones!)

In the morning there is a circumcision to be done. Daddy is still at home, showering and readying the house for our arrival. You can't handle the thought of having your son's privates clipped in some sterile room in the recesses of the hospital all alone. So, at the insistence of your good friend Dr. Melissa, you walk down the corridors with a your son and pediatrician cursing Dad for firmly making this decision.

Turns out, circumcisions are fascinating. Not so gory. Baby sleeps through entire procedure. Daddy shows up for the last part, Dr. Melissa shows him the clipped skin. Daddy looks confused, Dr. Melissa recommends being proud. Deal.

In the afternoon you get the okay to go home. Katie, the nurse, wheels you out via wheelchair. It seems ceremonial, if not silly. And then someone forgot to take The Chief's security monitor off his little ankles.

The hospital goes on lock-down as we pass the exit.

The day is rainy. We pack in the car and drive towards home. Daddy says something like, "It feels like we are young college students, driving our beat-up Toyota back to Wymount with our new baby."

Exactly what you were thinking.

There is a brief stop at El Azteca, and finally you are home again. Safe, quiet, nurses-free home! The rain has turned to hail and as you sit there, baby on shoulder, eating beans and guacamole Daddy announces that after all, he still finds you attractive.

Deep breath.

In the afternoon, as you breastfeed (heaven!) you look at your new house, your good husband, your sweet, sucking newborn son and wonder . . .

. . . how soon until I can do this again?